19 Dec 2008

Wayne Shelford says dropping New Zealand Maori team is a bad call

7:05 pm on 19 December 2008

The former All Black captain Wayne Shelford says the Rugby Union's decision not to fund the New Zealand Maori side in 2009 is a mistake.

An NZRU budget cut has seen them reduce some of their programmes next year.

The union's chief executive Steve Tew says the long term view is that the New Zealand Maori team is the best fit for the Pacific Nations Cup but the development of the top level players on the brink of All Black selection is a more urgent priortiy for 2009.

However Shelford says the history surrounding the Maori team should give them precedence over the Junior All Blacks.

Shelford says the New Zealand Maori side are popular wherever they go and consistently produce revenue from their matches.

The Junior All Blacks played the first two years of the pacific nations Cup, but were replaced by the Maori this year.